Duterte’s insults won’t stop me, says De Lima
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday laughed off Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that she had abducted former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she prevented her from leaving the country in November 2011.
“I’d rather not answer attacks like that—they’re becoming personal already. As I’ve said, even if he insults and criticizes me daily, I would not stop saying what I want to say. It’s not only him who has freedom of expression,” De Lima said.
Duterte was referring to the incident where immigration and airport authorities barred Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo from leaving the country even if there were no warrants of arrest against them.
The word war between Duterte and De Lima intensified last week after the mayor reportedly admitted links to the so-called Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group that kills suspected criminals in the city. The justice secretary threatened to prosecute Duterte for the killings.
De Lima told Duterte to wait for the investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice. She said the cases against the Davao Death Squad were being built up with the help of a person who used to be a member and who had personal knowledge of the group’s activities.
De Lima also refuted Duterte’s allegation that she neglected reforms at the New Bilibid Prison, which is under the Bureau of Corrections, a DOJ-attached agency.
The secretary said the agency had needed time to plan its operation so the results would be successful.
Meanwhile, Duterte insisted he was not running for president despite an ad being regularly shown on TV.
“What about the ads? I have some friends, mostly Chinese, in Manila. They wanted me to shoot that advertisement. They said it’s OK if I will not run,” Duterte said on his “Gikan sa Masa, para sa Masa (From the Masses, For the Masses)” television program last Sunday.
The “Tapang at Malasakit” (Courage and Compassion) paid advertisement started airing last Friday.
The mayor said he even disagreed with some parts of it.–Jerome Aning and Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao
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